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Stopping Campaign Money Corruption

Special interests keep finding ways to sneak around the will of the people--especially when most campaign financing laws are riddled with loopholes.
 
 
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It's been said that where there's a will--there are at least a thousand won'ts.

Again and again the American people have expressed their will to stop the corruption of American politics and government by big money interests. Yet, the won'ts keep finding ways to sneak around the will of the people--especially when most campaign financing laws are riddled with loopholes.

You can find a glaring example in the current New York City race for mayor. Under a flimsy reform law, individuals can donate "only" $4,950 to any particular candidate for citywide office there. Of course, the vast majority of New Yorkers don't have anywhere near that amount to give to politicians, but those who do--particularly those special interests who want favors from the next mayor--find the limit too restrictive. So these sneaks have found a way to say "won't."

It turns out that the largest group of people giving the maximum donation to mayoral candidates is not CEOs, lawyers, or lobbyists, but women listing their occupations as "homemakers." Odd. Odder yet, when contacted, many of these homemakers were clueless about the race--and some weren't even living in the city. In fact, they are the wives of businessmen who're using a loophole that says wives and even children of a donor can also make donations of $4,950 each.

"That was handled through my husband's office," said one of these proxy donors. "I'm not familiar with it." Another, who lives in Florida, said that her contribution "was really not mine, it's my husband's"--and nine members of her family were also enlisted in her husband's game of sneak. One other unaware donor said, "And this was a contribution to whom?"

There is one reform that actually stops these sneaks. It's the public financing alternative, and it's being adopted by states and cities all across the country. To bring it to your area, call Public Campaign: 202-293-0222.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of "Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush," from Viking Press. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.